With Sachin Tendulkar set to play all matches in the second edition of the Indian Premier League, Delhi Daredevils vice-president (cricket) TA Sekar on Saturday tipped Mumbai Indians to reach the May 24 final.
And according to him, giving the Mumbai team fight in the final could be the Daredevils.
The former India bowler and national selector rated Mumbai Indians as the strongest and predicted a Mumbai-Delhi final in the lucrative Twenty20 league to be held in South Africa from April 18.
“Mumbai Indians are the best compared to the other six teams. Zaheer is bowling really well and JP Duminy will strengthen the team,” said Sekar.
“They will be missing Shaun Pollock who bowled superbly and also chipped in with the bat in some of their matches last year. Dwayne Bravo will also not be available for them in their initial matches. But the biggest plus is Sachin’s availability.
“He did not play all the matches last year due to injury but this time he is not only fit but is in a solid state with the bat,” Sekar said.
The former pacer also has high hopes for Delhi Daredevils making the final.
“We have (Virender) Sehwag and (Gautam) Gambhir, supposed to be one of the best opening pair in any forms of cricket in the world. We have also planned our replacements well. We will definitely do better than last year. We are aiming to reach the final,” Sekar added.
Among others he expects to do well are defending champions Rajasthan Royals and runners-up Chennai Super Kings.
“Chennai have a strong team and with Andrew Flintoff coming in, he will further boost their squad.
“Rajasthan Royals have done a good job taking in Tyron Henderson and Robert Quinney and these two are in very good form. Moreover, there’s star players like Shane Warne and Graeme Smith, while Yusuf Pathan too has come of age.”
On pitches in South Africa, Sekar said it is likely to assist fast bowlers.
“The weather could be a bit chilly. Evening matches could see movement with the ball. Generally South African pitches help fast bowlers more,” said Sekar.